10 January 2011

Making Goals, Not Wishes

A New Years tradition with my family is going out for breakfast on New Years Day. We went to a restaurant. While we were there we ran into some of my wife’s clients. They joked with us about how they were going to start their diets after breakfast. Their joke had me thinking about how lightly goals to change are being taken.

I have met many people who set “goals”. I would call them wishes. They state their goal for the year, say wanting to keep a cleaner home, but do nothing about it. They make no changes to their current system. It’s as if they are hoping fairies will do it for them.

We need to make goals, and do something about them. To get started on our goal making, lets understand a couple of principles so that we can make goals that invoke change in ourselves. You can also use these principles as you help your children make goals for the year.

First, the goals need to be specific to you. Your goals cannot include changing other people. This not only isn’t possible, it will only create frustration. By keeping goals personal, you will be in control of their results.

Second, you need to identify, and specify what your goal is. Your goal can be to change a certain habit, like nail baiting; or it can be to change a current pattern in life, such as to start getting up early; or a behaviour like being kinder; or even task related, such as writing a book. When you identify your goal, you know exactly what you want to accomplish.

Third, the goals you are setting need to be inline with your values and beliefs. If you value your time with your family, you shouldn’t create goals that would interfere with that time. Since in the long run, your goal will not be achieved, because it doesn’t line up with your values.

Fourth, you need to remind yourself of your goal. Set up alarms on your phone, computer, gaming system and anything else that gives you an automatic reminder. Also have it written, or a symbol of it, somewhere in your home, such as beside your TV, computer screen, on the mirror, or on the fridge. This constant reminder will keep your goal at the front of your mind, and prevent it from going onto the backburner.

Fifth, you need to be held accountable. If you can hold yourself accountable to yourself that’s fantastic. If you need to be held accountable by your spouse, parent, teacher, sibling, friend, or someone else, that is fine. This way your goal won’t get lost on the wayside if you hold yourself accountable.

Finally, you need to be S.M.A.R.T. about your goals. April Perry, from the Power of Moms, recommends that we be S.M.A.R.T. about our goals by making them Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

As you are S.M.A.R.T. about your goals, and keep these aspects in mind about goal setting, you will be able to make changes to your routines, habits, behaviours, and tasks.

Good luck in your endeavors for 2011!

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